Welcome to the South London Sling Library!

**All Open Sessions are held at our new home at 194 Beckenham Road, BR3 4RJ – travel and parking details all on our More About Open Sessions page**

Professional sling and baby carrier information, demos, classes and hire.  Helpful, impartial and knowledgable carrying advice for all parents and carers; bump to toddler and beyond! 

We run personalised consultations and small group workshops, plus regular drop-in Open Sessions where you can get advice, try out and borrow from our large selection of baby carriers. Browse the site to find out more!

The South London Sling Library is passionate about supporting parents. We believe that every child, parent and family is unique, and that almost anyone can use a sling or carrier if they want to, as long as they find the one that fits their needs. The Sling Library is here to help you discover the benefits of the different carrier options, with personal recommendations and tips so that you can find the one/s that’ll suit your family best.

We’ve got a huge collection of slings and carriers that are available to borrow for a small fee.  It costs from just £5 (plus refundable deposit) to hire a baby carrier for 2 weeks so that you can really find out how it will work for you and your family.

Use the menu above to find out more about the South London Sling Library, how it works and what baby carriers and slings we have.  There’s lots more information about slings and carriers if you’re interested, and regular blog updates posted below.

Where to go next:

Open Sessions – find out when our next drop-in sessions are.

Library Catalogue – see all of the Sling Library’s carriers.

Information Request Form – ask us for advice on carriers and what to try.

Or Contact Us if you’ve got any other questions about what we do.


© 2011 South London Sling Library
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South London Sling Library Blog

The Library regularly posts news announcements, carrier reviews, changes to the way the Library works, plus carrier tips and information articles. The most recent blog posts appear on the Library website Home page with the most recent first.  Older blog posts can be found by browsing the sections of the ‘News and Reviews’ menu to the right.

Any comments on blog posts are very welcome, as are suggestions for things for me to blog about!

Posted in Our Library in Action!

The Sling Library has moved house!

A very quick post while I briefly have internet access (we’re not connected at the new house yet!).

The Sling Library has now moved house to it’s own fabulous rooms at 194 Beckenham Road, Beckenham, BR3 4RJ.  It’s not quite a central London postcode (we’re technically the first house in Kent – next door is still in SE20!), but it’s really not far away (only 15 mins drive from the old location) and is very easy to get to by public transport from a wide range of locations.  Have a look on our More About Open Sessions page for lots of info on how to get here and parking etc.

If you’ve got any questions then, as always, you can email info@southlondonslings.co.uk, but please note that we have no internet access and are VERY busy getting the Sling Library ready to re-open on Monday 20th so it may take a little while for us to reply!  We thank everyone for their patience and understanding & for a sneak peak of what we’re up to see below…..

The new house is wonderful, but very much a work in progress so you’ll need to bear with us at times over the coming months while we do essential works (like installing central heating, repairing the guttering, re-pointing and re-wiring as a start!)

The Sling Library rooms have been top priority since we got the keys a week ago and with the help of lots of friends and family we’ve worked wonders.  It’s not quite finished, but will be very soon and is a world away from the peeling damp and dirty wallpaper and holes in the ceiling that we started with!

Here’s just a taster of what we’ve been up to….

Here’s what we started with when we got the keys on Friday 10th Jan:

The way in and some of the walls (this house is in need of a LOT of TLC!):

The surprise bath that we didn’t know was in the Sling Library entrance (the house was so full of stuff when we viewed it that we couldn’t see this was here!):

So we did some stripping (in fact we had to take all of the walls back to bare plaster):

 

And building and filling of holes (and we took out the bath!):

And then it all went white! (We’ve used at least 40 litres of white paint!)

  

And we got carpets (and super thick warm bouncy underlay)!

And then on Thursday 16th we started moving in!

We’ve still got lots to do, and I know that we’ve not been able to reply to messages much over the last week (at least now you know why!), but bear with us while we beaver away and we hope to see you at our new home soon!

Emily xx


© 2014 South London Sling Library
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Carrying in the Cold

It’s well and truly autumn and we’re all feeling it!  Whether we’re using a sling or not, we’re having to think a lot more about what we dress our babies – and ourselves – in when we go out, and whether we’ll need to take any extra coverings or accessories with us when we leave the house.

Here at the South London Sling Library we’ve been getting lots of questions about how to keep everyone comfortable when using slings and carriers in cold weather.  So we’ve put together a few thoughts for you on Carrying in the Cold (or Slinging in the Snow or (baby)Wearing in the Wind and Wet) to help you out!

Slinging in the Snow

Don’t let the changing weather put you off getting out!  Fresh air can be a miracle cure for a grizzly baby or a restless toddler  and helps to keep everyone healthier and happier.  And using a sling or carrier offers real practical benefits in cold or wet weather…

The great thing about using a carrier that holds your child close to your body is that you get to share each other’s warmth – carrying a baby is like having your own snuggly hotwater bottle!

AND… using a carrier allows you to boldly go where no buggy can!  On foot you can get across uneven or slippery ground safely (do wear appropriate footwear though!); the carrier also gives you your hands free to support yourself or a bigger child, or hold an umbrella!

First things first – the safety and comfort of your baby is important! 

Babies and small children can get hot or cold much more easily than adults do and the smaller the baby the more careful we need to be with extremes of temperature.  In cold weather a baby could get too cold, but with all the layers they might have on a baby might also get too hot!

Check if your baby is getting too cold or too warm: If you’re worried that your baby may be getting too cold or warm, the best way to check (without a thermometer) is to pop a couple of fingers down the back of their neck – they should feel warm and comfortable, not cool, cold, hot or clammy.  A baby with a sweaty back is probably the most reliable sign that they don’t need so many layers!

You can also check their face, hands and feet for colour and touch temperature. And their behaviour may also give you a sign – hot babies often fuss or get agitated; cold babies may be less responsive.

But there are still lots of questions to answer…. Do I carry my baby under or over my coat? Should they wear a snow suit? Do I really need an expensive babywearing cover or coat? How does all this work for back carries/wraps/toddlers etc.?  We’ve had lots of experience with various options and talked to lots of you about what you think too! Here’s what we’ve found….

Do I carry my baby under or over my coat?

For front and hip carries it’s usually most comfortable and practical to carry your baby in their sling or carrier close to your body, with your own coat, cardigan or a cover over the top.  This will allow you to share body heat (your baby will get much more warmth from you than from any coat or blanket!) and also gives you the best weight distribution for comfortable carrying.  Trying to use a sling or carrier over bulky coats tends to result in the carrier not fitting as well against either of you.

When carrying under your coat think about: how you like your carrier straps – if you prefer spreading Wrap, Ring Sling or Mei Tai straps over your shoulders then you may not be able to do this under a coat.  Don’t over-dress your baby – see below!

Wrapping over a coatFor back and toddler carrying it may be more  practical to carry them over your coat, especially if they want to be up and down a lot.  Soft Structured Carriers can work really well for this as they don’t have dangly ties keep off the floor and you can leave the carrier fastened around your waist while it’s not in use.

Fully covered back carries can be more awkward than front or hip carries, even when using special babywearing coats.  Unless your toddler is going to be napping then you don’t want to be taking your coat off every time they fancy hopping down for a bit!

When carrying over your coat think about: which carry positions and sling/carrier you’re going to be using, and how much of the time your child will need to be carried.  You may need to weigh up optimum comfort/fit of your carrier versus ease of getting your child up and down.

Or when needs must why not try both!

Which carriers work best in autumn and winter weather?

This will depend on you, your child, the weather and what you need your carrier to do – basically (as with everything slingy – and parenty!) it all depends on you!

Ergo With Cover

Things to think about when choosing your carrier for wintery carrying:

    • Warmth: Though most of the heat within a carrier comes from you and your baby, some carriers allow more/less airflow than others.  Wraparound slings can hold in a lot more heat than those with less fabric, and can really help to keep you all snuggly warm!
    • Long straps: You may prefer to avoid carriers with long straps that may get wet or muddy on the floor, or that might be less practical to manipulate when it’s windy!  Soft Structured Carriers can solve this really successfully, as can slings that can be put on before you leave the house and not need to be re-tied while out, such as Stretchy Wraps, Ring Slings and Pouches.  Some methods of using a Woven Wrap or Wrap-Tai can also allow you to pre-tie in this way.
    • Wide Shoulder Straps: As noted above, you may find it less easy to spread wider shoulder straps both under or over a coat and so your wrap or ring sling may fit differently to normal.
    • Washing and Drying Carriers: If your carrier is likely to get wet or muddy, then you’ll want one that can be washed easily or at the very least will stand up well to getting soggy.  If you use your carrier a lot then you’d probably prefer to use one that will dry quickly.
    • Your baby/toddler’s needs and preferences: The age and stage or your baby will make a big difference to what works. Take into account how long they’ll need to be in the carrier for, when/whether they’ll need to get out for walks, feeds, changes etc. Also think about how your child feels about being able to see and move.  Some babywearing coats or covers can make a baby feel more restricted than normal; for these children you may need to use a carrier over your coats and go for something that would be more practical for this.

Mei Tai under Coat  

What do I dress myself and my baby in?

This will obviously depend on the weather!  The usual guide is that your baby should wear one layer more than you would feel comfortable in. Thinner, breathable layers may be more comfortable than one thick layer, and this can also help with keeping good weight distribution and fit in a carrier.  This applies to both you and your baby – layering long sleeved tops and jumpers can be easier and comfier under slings than a bulky coat.

Carrying without a coat Manduca plus Umbrella

  • Carrying under your coat: If carrying your baby under your coat, simply dress yourself and your baby in whatever indoor clothes are appropriate, then put on the sling and then your coat over the top.  Your baby won’t need to wear their own coat too. The great thing about this is that you don’t need to wake a baby up to put a coat on/off – they can nap comfortabley in the sling without needing to be disturbed.
  • Keep extremities layered up: your torsos may be snuggly warm under all those tops and carriers, but those bits sticking out may need more help keeping warm!

    • Hats: For small babies make sure that they also have a hat on as this will often be the most exposed part of their body.  If back carrying, a hat that fastens under your child’s chin will help to stop it getting lost! You may also want to wear a scarf or snuggly collar to keep your neck warm.
    • Leg and Arm Warmers: We love our Hugalugs leg warmers to keep baby and toddler legs and arms warm too – they’re great for layering under or over clothes and add a layer where you need it (i.e. the bits of the baby that are sticking out of the carrier!) plus they can be easily taken off if your baby gets too warm. Here at the SLSL several of our team also use Hugalugs as arm warmers – we’ve found that we need fewer layers on our torsos when carrying a Hot-Water-Bottle-Baby, but our arms still get cold so arm warmers are a great solution!
    • Footwear: Make sure your baby’s feet are warm – extra socks (securely held on by Sock-Ons if needed!) and snuggly wooly booties can be a great way to keep little toes toasty!
  • Snowsuits and Coats for Babies:  If carrying your baby over your own coat, then they will need to be dressed appropriately for the weather.  They’ll be getting less of your body heat and so an all-in-one snowsuit can be a great option. Bulky padded suits can affect how well a baby fits in a carrier, wrap or sling, and so some parents favour Fleece suits – these are less bulky but still very warm.  And you can still add extra layers underneath including socks, legwarmers etc. In wet weather you may prefer for your baby to wear a raincoat or all in one waterproof to keep them dry; large brimmed rain hats that tie under the chin can be very practical too!
  • Don’t Overdress Your Baby!  Though it may be cold, in the UK the weather generally isn’t Arctic and a baby held close to your body with their extremities protected isn’t going to suffer from exposure to the cold.  Some babies (and adults) get hotter than others and so do let yourself take off layers if you feel that your baby is too warm.  We’ve had babies arrive at the sling library in December dressed in just a vest and nappy, but perfectly snug under 3 layers of wrap and their Mum’s coat!

Do I need a purpose made cover or babywearing coat?  What are the options available?  Can I make something myself?

Now this is a whole new topic by itself! In our thoughts above we’ve not assumed any particular coat or cover as there are so many options out there. In short; no, you don’t *need* a specially made coat or cover, but you may find that there’s a product that makes you and your baby much more comfortable for wintery carrying.  There are also various DIY solutions that might work for you too!

We’re putting together another blog post on products for babywearing weather protection and will be posting it shortly!

Link to second blog post: Coming Soon!

If you’ve got any questions about getting the most out of slings and carriers in different weather conditions, get in touch by emailing info@southlondonslings.co.uk or pop along to a drop-in Open Session and we’ll be happy to help! xx


© 2013 South London Sling Library
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Summer Holidays 2013

Announcement about South London Sling Library services July to September 2013:

Drop in Open Sessions:

I’m currently planning that the regular West Norwood drop-in Open Sessions will continue as usual so there will be at least one opening day every week throughout the summer holidays. At these sessions you can get carrier advice and demos, plus hire and buy from our range of slings, carriers and accessories.

Please be aware that Marie-Yianna and I may have up to 3 children of our own at the sessions ranging in ages from 2 1/2 to 8 present at the summer Open Sessions. We’d really appreciate your patience and understanding at times when we need to attend to the needs of our own children.

Out of hours services:

Due to our family and school holidays, email and phone support will be very limited and subject to longer-than-usual delays until the middle of September. Out of hours hires, returns and consultation services will not be available for the month of August, and limited during July and September.

Hire Extensions:

For the month of August, I’m happy to agree in advance to all carrier hire extension requests, and will be in touch as soon as I’m able to arrange payment of additional hire fees.

Getting in touch:

Emailing info@southlondonslings.co.uk is always the most reliable way to get in touch as then your query will get on a more manageable ‘to do’ list that I’ll more easily be able to access when away.

If you have an urgent query regarding a carrier or sling that you’re currently hiring from the Sling Library only, then you could also text or call me (Emily) on 07793823539, though note that I may be camping or abroad.

As always, I’ll make sure that catch up on messages and admin as soon as I’m able, but please be patient while we’re on Summer Time!

Enjoy your summer everyone!

Emily x


© 2013 South London Sling Library
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Right Royal Carriers! Sumptuous Slings that we think would be perfect for carrying a King or Queen to be (and their less regal alternatives)!

I give in! It’s all over the news and I love planning for babies so I’m joining in the excitment over the Royal baby-to-be and indulging in some more whimsical silliness this evening…. so please do take this post with a suitabley generous pinch of salt (though there is some useful slingy info in here too!)….

Will and Kate Pregnant Kate Middleton Pregnant

Before I launch into day dreaming about sumptuous slings made out of fabulous fabrics and top-quality design fit for Will and Kate and their Really Royal Baby I should probably clarify that, despite liking to think of myself as a rebel at heart, I am unashamedly and enthusiastically in support of our Royal Family.

We used slings at the Wedding (when baby Izzy had sOOo much fun waving flags and dancing with me in Hyde Park)…… and at the Jubilee (when the long day of walking through Riverside crowds got a bit too much for my toddler and she snuggled in for cuddles)!

I LOVE these occasions where thousands of people come together just because we’re all living in the same place and want to celebrate that. I love the feeling of community and solidarity and I find it really grounding that these occasions are steeped in all sorts of random trappings of tradition…. it brings stability to my feelings of where I’m from, and where I belong.  The way I see it, having a stable cultural tradition is like coming from a stable family background.

And it all links in very nicely with the research into secure emotional attachment in babies (growing into toddlers, children and adults) that I use to inform some of the benefits of babywearing! (You knew I’d manage to link in the slings somewhere there!)  And in the benefits of positive contact with others – whether that’s a baby’s immediate family providing essential care and close physical reassurance, or a citizen’s community providing essential support – is also a theme for me.  It’s also why the Sling Library is now a Community Interest Company too! ;)

But enough of me rambling and on with the carrying!  Here are my Right Royal Slings and Carriers for all of Will and Kate’s carrying needs birth to toddler, plus we give the Best of British alternatives that you can try out at the Sling Library too!

Wonderful Wraparound Slings

A great option for a brand new parent to use from day One is a stretchy wrap. This can be pre-tied before needing to get baby involved making it quick and easy to use.  A stretchy sling is also one of the only carrier types really suitable even for small newborns, and that will fit and adjust a post-natal mother comfortabley (whatever her birth experience) and facilitate wonderful hands free skin to skin contact with Dad too!  The soft fabric fully supports a squishy newborn without restriction or pressure points.

For even more adaptability and versatility for a sling that can truely take you from birth to toddler a woven wrap can be used in a very similar way to a stretchy wrap, whilst also offering a greater level of support and range of carrying positions to suit every baby, parent and occasion.

Our Royal Recommendation: Mother Free Merino Stretchy Wrap – made from super soft, light and breathable 100% merino jersey fabric, we tested this sling last year and loved the feel and support it gave.

Mother Free Merino

And for a more versatile and adaptable woven option, how about a sumptuous and soft Diva Milano Woven Wrap -  light and comfortable to wear, these wraps are wonderfully soft and woven to the highest quality by an Italian factory that makes fabric for some world-class fashion houses including Versace and Armani.

Best of British: Hana Baby Bamboo Stretchy Wrap – designed and produced by a South London mum this is one of our most popular stretchy wraps – light and breathable so excellent for summer use with a small newborn, yet still elastic and supportive for carrying a growing baby! Hire or buy from the Sling Library :D

Hana Baby Wrap

And for a simply stunning British made woven wrap, how about this british designed and jacquard woven limited edition Vanilla Roses wrap created by Oscha Slings – simply stunning!

Really Royal Ring Slings

The perfect accessory for a mum in the public eye who needs to look good!  Ring slings are super convenient for carrying newborns, babies and toddlers – they work really well for special occasions and are easy to wear over dresses and smarter clothes (it’s not at all unusual for us to have mums popping along to the sling library to find rings slings to match their dresses for Weddings and Christenings!). Plus for less public occasions they’re also great for cozy snuggles, facilitating breastfeeding and quick toddler ups and downs when you’re a busy mum with lots to do and not enough hands!

Our Royal Recommendation: Sakura Bloom Luxe Silk Ring Sling - a gorgeous gathered ring sling in a neutral golden flax colour to go with every outfit and occasion, this wild tussah silk fabric is kind to moths and eco friendly. Light and cool for summer use, yet strong enough for carrying a toddler!  As a slightly cheaper alternative, we think this Sakura Bloom Artisan Silk Ring Sling would also be perfect :)

Best of British: Oscha Slings Grad Dyed Linen Ring Sling in English Rose – this light, cool and supportive sling is made from Irish linen, sewn and beautifully dyed in the UK and with a clever pleated shoulder style also designed by a UK mum!  The Sling Library has an Oscha Slings ring sling and a Linen Gradation wrap available to try out!

Oscha Slings English Rose

 

Or for a more average budget, why not look at the new Calin Bleu 2 colour Ring Slings – still light, supportive and stylish (and from a British company!), but easier to find and much kinder on the wallet!

Supportive Soft Structured Carriers

Quick to use, streamlined and supportive, Soft Structured Carriers can be suitable for babies and toddlers and for front, back and even hip carrying! Because the support and comfort offered to both parent and baby/toddler by a Soft Structured Carrier really depends on how well the carrier fits each person, I’m going to include a few options here, starting with the ones suitable for smaller babies and working up! All of these carriers are available to try, hire and buy (except the custom made ones) from Sling Library Open Sessions!

Our Royal Recommendation for a small baby: Beco Gemini – This super popular and easy to use carrier has a great sporty look that appeals to dads, whilst offering great support for baby too. It has a clever adjustable width feature to allow it to grow quickly with your baby during those first months, and is suitable for front, hip and back carries for excellent adaptability. We love this attractive yet wearable and unisex Stella design:

Best of British for Bigger Babies: Connecta Integra – a simple yet supportive carrier made from organic cotton that’s really easy to use, light and breathable and with no unecessary padding (so perfect for summer use). The Connecta comes in a range of gorgeous fabric to go with every occasion, including some gorgeous silks and this classic tweed for a Really Royal touch!

   

Our Royal Recommendation for a big baby to toddler: Manduca – a brilliant carrier that adjusts to fit a wide range of adults and grows with your baby too. Made from natural organic cotton and hemp fabrics this carrier is suitable for front, back and hip carries plus it also comes in lots of smart limited edition colours and with a range of accessories to suit every family. Available to try, hire and buy from Sling Library Open Sessions!

Best of British for toddlers: Kitten Creations Custom Made Full Buckle – we LOVE our Kitten Creations full buckle carrier here at the South London Sling Library. Made by a UK-based work at home mum, it’s ingenious design makes even heavy toddlers feel weightless, yet the carrier itself is soft and compact. Have your perfect carrier made to your perfect size from your own gorgeous woven wrap and fabrics, plus there’s the option for some amazing embroidery and applique for the perfect customised carrier!

And though it’s a huge shame to miss out on so many brilliant and popular carriers, I don’t even feel able to start on the wonderful range of off the peg and custom made Mei Tais and other tie-on slings (but maybe I can find some gorgeous ones to suggest tomorrow)! And let’s hope that we get to see some Right Royal use of slings and baby carriers very soon – with so many fantastic, comfortable and supportive options out there I can’t wait to see what Will and Kate choose!

Choosing your own ‘perfect’ carrier:

Remember that every baby and parent is different and has different carrying wishes and needs.  The carriers I’ve included here are all excellent carriers that I felt I’d be able to recommend as possible likely options to parents/babies that I’ve not met. But they may not be the ideal or most comfortable option/s for all families. There are lots of other fantastic brands and carrier types that could be the (even more) perfect sling or carrier for you and your family, depending on your shape, size, preferences and needs.

The best way to find out what would work best for you is to pop along to a Sling Library Open Session – or for a Really Royal treat book a Private Consultation with our experienced and qualified Carrying Consultant to get our full attention for your personal carrier fitting advice, tips and recommendations.  You can also have a look at our page on Choosing a Baby Carrier to help you get started :D

For more information, browse the website or email info@southlondonslings.co.uk to find out more!

Emily x


© 2013 South London Sling Library
Posted in Pictures and Reviews | 1 Comment

Poly-sling-philia: The abnormal love of slings and baby carriers….

A little post-bank-holiday silliness going on at SLSL HQ this evening!

When people ask why I set up the Sling Library there is a sensible answer, which involves meeting the needs of local parents and how much I enjoy the chance to meet and help so many families…. and then there is this…..

Poly-sling-philia picture

For your regular treatment of exposure to high quality, comfortable slings and baby carriers, fully supervised by a professional carrying consultant, pop along to one of our drop-in Open Sessions (which may feature many of the slings pictured above)!

If you’re not in or near South London, then have a look at this great page from Babywearing UK that allows you to search a map of local sling and baby carrier help in the UK: Babywearing UK: Local Support

See you soon!

Emily xx


© 2013 South London Sling Library
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